Pregnancy food is one of the most jumbled topics. What to eat or what to not remains a question mark for many. From our grandmothers who talk about those traditional tips, to our social friends who might have heard from a celebrity.
To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings. It is a special power bestowed upon you by God. But as it is said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. The time can be full of questions, stress and confusion. But the fact that you are here and taking time to read this blog means that you deeply care about your baby’s health and you are going to ace your role as a mother.
As soon as this journey starts, you may come across a variety of suggestions. People might tell you that eat for two. But that’s not true. You need to strike a balance in what you eat. You are not eating for two, you are eating carefully for one. Every pregnancy is different and everybody is different. You need to listen to what your body says. Food that makes you feel good are always well accepted by your body.
Eat a rainbow and your pregnancy will glow. Pregnancy food should include a variety of vegetable and fruits in the diet. Have a minimum of 2 servings of fruits and 4 servings of vegetables every day. They are power packed food that contain loads of fiber and micro nutrients like vitamin A, B, C, iron, zinc and folate. These will also help for detoxification and keep you away from constipation.
Nausea and vomiting may create hinders in your daily routine. Even the thought of food, may spoil your mood. In such times, go easy on yourself. Keep a box of whole wheat crackers handy. It will soothe you like eating a candy. Indulge on ginger as it will calm your tummy. Enjoy a glass of warm water with some grated ginger.
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MACRONUTRIENTS THE PILLARS OF PREGNANCY FOOD:
Growth is a lock and proteins are the keys. We have read that proteins are the building blocks of our body. Eating proteins helps in the development of maternal and fetal tissues. The protein requirements increase in the second and third trimester. On average pregnancy food should have 80 gm of protein should be consumed every day. Good sources of high biological value protein include: Lean meat, egg, dairy products and cereal pulse combination.
Body’s metabolism increases by 15%. Additional calorie requirements are needed to support the metabolism. So, you can choose calorie and nutrient dense options like whole wheat crackers and humus, fruits, nuts like almonds and walnuts, home-made peanut butter or oat-based granola bar, make a veggie roll using some chapati with paneer or any vegetables or even an egg roll. Focus on complex carbohydrates like whole wheat or millets like jowar, bajra and nachni.
Sodas or juices should be avoided.
MICRONUTRIENTS THE SCREWS OF PREGNANCY FOOD:
Calcium: Maternal absorption of calcium across the gut doubles during pregnancy. It is required for the skeletal development of your baby. It is important to avoid the risk of intrauterine growth restrictions and preeclampsia.
You can gain calcium from
- Dairy products like milk, curd, paneer
- Sesame seeds
Iron: One of the most important micronutrient. It helps in formation of hemoglobin, improves oxygen supply to your baby, enhances brain development. The best vegetarian sources of iron are garden cress seeds and nigella seeds.
Other sources of iron include
- Organ meat
- Star anise
- Iron fortified food like wheat flakes
Zinc: It is involved in more than 100 body metabolisms. It will help in your baby’s gene expression, structural and brain development. Zinc is widely available.
Good sources include
- Red meat,
- Whole grains like wheat, jowar, bajra
Folate: It is important to support maternal erythropoiesis, DNA synthesis, and fetal and placental growth.
You can incorporate
- Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek
- Pulses and legumes like soyabean, chickpeas, dals
- Whole cereals like wheat, jowar
Vitamin C: It is required to improve the antioxidant levels, enhance the absorption of calcium and iron in the body. You don’t need to take any vitamin C supplements. Consumption of 2-3 fruits in a day will help to fulfil the requirements.
Pregnancy Food – Quick Tips
- Sequence some lemon over your plated salad or any vegetable
- Go vocal for local. Choose fruits that are locally available
- Seasonal fruits are best
- Avoid caffeine rich foods like tea or coffee
- Have whole fruits rather than juices
Pregnancy is a time to keep things simple. Don’t start any supplements without your doctor’s advice. You don’t need to cook fancy meals. Meals prepared from fresh ingredients is more than sufficient. Enjoy the process. There is no better feeling than the movement of life inside of you.
Ms. Mahima Bhanushali